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Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Journey along Li River




What to say about Li River, it is just fantastic.  Li River is also called LiJiang in Chinese, as “jiang” is the Chinese word for “river”, so it is wrong to say Lijiang river as used on many articles in English.  However people ignore it as it is so famous, everybody knows. 

Touring  by boat for 4 hours along the river surrounded by mountains and mountains, is an endless journey in tranquillity. We can look around during the tour and we can see a 360 degree of scenic landscape.  
The Li River tour flows through Guilin and Yangshuo with a total length of 116 km. Tourist cruises in different boats,  varying from small rafts to larger, air-conditioned boats. It is the major attraction for tourists who come to Guilin. Millions of people each year come to its jade waters, cruising between peaks and islands in search of the landscape beauty.  During peak holidays there are so many boats required to carry the tourists, such that the boats are lined-up sailing behind each other like a train on water. 
The whole length of the Li River is guarded by green hills and the scenic karst mountains. It has been visited by a huge number of artists, writers and poets to admire the river. It is also the most written about river in China. The Li River gives an authentic picture of countryside China.  Written and painted by poets and artists, Li River gives a picture book of karst peaks, ancient villages and bamboo. 
In the Song Dynasty, Guilin had begun to be famous for its natural beauty and said to be the best  "Among all the mountains and waters”. Guilin is well-known for its unique mountains and beautiful rivers. There are about 157 rock hills (now under first-class or second-class state protection),  21 major karst caves and several hundred smaller ones.  
Among the hills and protruding rocks of Guilin, flows the tranquil Li River (Lijiang), which gives a very scenic sight. The Li River flows through Guilin and Yangshuo with a total length of 116 km. Tourist cruises the river in different boats,  varying from small bamboo rafts to larger, air-conditioned boats . Millions of people each year come to its jade waters, cruising between peaks and islands to see the landscape beauty. It is the major attraction for tourists who come to Guilin. 
The whole length of the Li River journey is guarded by green hills and scenic karst mountains. It has been visited by a huge number of artists, writers and poets to admire the river. It is also the most written about river in China. The Li River gives an authentic picture of countryside China.  Written and painted by poets and artists, Li River gives a picture book of karst peaks, ancient villages and bamboo. 
Just round the big turn that the river takes at Xingping is the most iconic stretch of the river known as The Yellow Cloth landscape, which features on the back of the Chinese 20 yuan money. The money shows a fisherman on the river with Yellow Cloth landscape behind it. 
The place's name comes from a yellow flagstone, long and wide, whose reflection spreads itself on the river like a yellow cloth. The seven hills on the bank of Yellow Cloth landscape have been likened to seven fairy maidens who came from heaven to play at the bank and were so amazed by the scenery that they would not leave. 
More than the river itself, the landscape is awesome: alluvial plains rippling with 300-million-year-old limestone formations. The geological term for these  mountain is karst sometimes with odd shapes that look like something in nature, like the Yellow Cloth landscape. The people used their imagination to name the odd shapes according to the shapes such as : Watching An Apple, Calligraphy Brush, Eight Immortals, Elephant Trunk Hill, Folded Brocade Mountain, etc. Many of these fanciful names are tied to a local legend.  This habit of naming of a scenery and tying it to a legend is quite common in China, we encounter it in other places in China as well. Actually, the Chinese people in that way is very imaginative and creative. 
Among all of the odd shapes, Nine Horse Hill is an important scene not to miss during the Li River tour. Nine Horse Hill is located 4km from Xinping. The cliff face has images of what appeared to be a group of horses. In variation of yellow and white, dark and light, the horses assume a variety of poses: some seem to be running, some just lying there and others playing. These images have been present on the mountain side for centuries. 
In the Xingping area there is a hill named as Camel Hill. This hill is named Camel Hill as its shape looks like a Camel.  In Guilin, Yangshuo and other places in China, there are other hills named as Camel Hill because of its shape. So it is misleading to think that Camel Hill is the one located along the Li River tour, because there are other Camel Hills in China. 
The wonderful 4 hours boat journey then ended in Yangshuo, leaving us with memorable images of the landscape along the Li River, attached by the given fancy names of the landscape. May be that is the purpose of naming them like that.